Course Policies

Spring 2023, v1.0

Class Preparation

Reading will be assigned to be completed before the class period begins. Classes will build upon what you read rather than repeat it, so it will be important to come to class prepared. You are also encouraged to take notes as you read.

Although you are not graded directly on doing the reading, you are expected to behave as an adult, which means doing the things that are required, whether or not you are given grade points for doing them. Also, failing to do these things may impact your learning, which will obviously have an impact on your performance on other graded assignments.

There may be other activities to do along with or after the reading, and before class (depending on which course you’re enrolled in — see the syllabus). If so, these activities may be due at some earlier time (a certain amount of time before class); see the syllabus and/or Canvas for the specific deadlines. You are responsible for completing these activities by the specified deadline.

Attendance & Participation

You are expected to attend all class periods for this class. You are furthermore expected to participate in any class activities, discussions, etc., which may include working on problems in class and collaborating with your classmates.

Although you are not graded directly on attendance and participation, you are expected to behave as an adult, which means doing the things that are required, whether or not you are given grade points for doing them. Also, failing to do these things may impact your learning, which will obviously have an impact on your performance on other graded assignments.

What should I do if I miss class?

There may be times when you have a legitimate reason for missing class (e.g., illness). If you miss class on a day that doesn’t have any graded activities (e.g., exams, tests, quizzes, etc.) then you do not need to contact the instructor about your absence. What you should do is check for any class announcements, find any new course materials that have been posted online (e.g., in Canvas, etc.), and get in touch with a classmate who can help catch you up and share their notes with you. Of course, if you have any questions about the course material, you are welcome to use office hours and any other resources the class provides for such help.

If you miss class on a day that does have a graded activity, email the instructor to see about making up the activity. You must have a legitimate excused absence to be allowed to make up a graded activity, and you must contact the instructor before the class you will be missing if it is possible and reasonable to do so. In some emergency situations, it may not be reasonable, so in that case just contact the instructor as soon as it is reasonable to do so. Note that the instructor has final authority over what is and isn’t considered excused, so it is in your best interest to get an absence approved before you make any irreversible plans.

The class is not being recorded. Requests to be provided with a recording of the class (that we are not creating) will not be entertained. If slides are being used for any given class period, they will be posted to Canvas before class starts (if possible, or soon after class end if not). However, I do not use a lot of slides in most of my classes, so do not expect slides to exist for a class you missed; requests to provide slides for missed classes will not be entertained. If slides exist, you can find them on Canvas. If they’re not there, then there aren’t any. Also, even when there are slides, there will likely be a lot that happened in class that’s not on the slides, so you still need to check with a classmate and get notes.


This course has two rules of etiquette that apply both in and out of class:

  1. Don’t be a slacker.
  2. Don’t be a jerk.

Being a slacker means doing something detrimental to yourself. For example:

  • not doing the assigned reading
  • not preparing for an exam
  • not turning in an assignment

Being a jerk means doing something detrimental to someone else (which includes both fellow students and instructors/TAs). For example:

  • saying or doing things the devalue fellow students or diminish their participation in class
  • not doing your share of the work in a group project
  • creating distractions in class – be mindful! Some things that wouldn’t distract you may still be distracting to others.

You are expected to behave as an adult and understand when you are being a slacker or being a jerk. However, the instructor is the final arbiter on slacker and jerk behavior, and you will be expected to cease any etiquette violations pointed out by the instructor.

Inclusivity Statement

I strive to make my class a place where justice, equity, inclusivity, and diversity are embraced. Everyone is welcome, regardless of identity, background, experiences, or ability, and each student brings a unique perspective that enriches our understanding of both the course material and each other. Each of you also has a responsibility to your fellow students to contribute towards an inclusive and welcoming learning environment. That said, while I strive towards these ideals, I may stumble on the way. Therefore, I welcome you to provide constructive feedback when I do.

As each person has different needs in their lives, I will do my best to provide reasonable accommodations in this course for your needs. A few specific areas are listed below, but if you have other circumstances that need accommodations, please do not hesitate to ask me. If you know what accommodations would be helpful, that’s great! But if you only know the problem, not the solution, then I’m happy to talk with you about that and brainstorm solutions together. While I cannot guarantee a solution to every problem – accommodations do need to be reasonable and fair, and there are some things simply out of my control – I will do my best. I am also happy to help you find resources on campus for things that I am not able to help with personally.

Religious Accommodations

We will support any student who needs to miss class or receive other accommodations due to the observance of a religious holiday or other religious practices. If you will miss class, see the section about what to do if you will miss class. Missing class for religious reasons will be granted an excused absence, e.g., if you need to make up an exam or quiz. Other accommodations can be made in the class, as appropriate for your circumstances, by contacting the instructor.

Disability Accommodations

Tufts University values the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty and recognizes the important contribution each student makes to our unique community. Tufts is committed to providing equal access and support to all qualified students through the provision of reasonable accommodations so that each student may fully participate in the Tufts experience. If you have a disability that requires reasonable accommodations, please contact the StAAR Center (formerly Student Accessibility Services) at or 617-627-4539 to make an appointment with an accessibility representative to determine appropriate accommodations. Please be aware that accommodations cannot be enacted retroactively, making timeliness a critical aspect for their provision.

Mental Health Resources

As a student, there may be times when personal stressors or difficulties interfere with your academic performance or well-being. The Dean of Student Affairs Office offers support and care to undergraduates and graduate students who are experiencing difficulties, and can also aid faculty in their work with students. In addition, through Tufts’ Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS) students can access mental health support 24/7, and they can provide information on additional resources. CMHS also provides confidential consultation, brief counseling, and urgent care at no cost for all Tufts undergraduates as well as for graduate students who have paid the student health fee. To make an appointment, call 617-627-3360. Please visit the CMHS website: to learn more about their services and resources.

Academic Resources

The StAAR Center (formerly the Academic Resource Center and Student Accessibility Services) offers a variety of resources to all students (both undergraduate and graduate) in the Schools of Arts and Science, Engineering, the SMFA and Fletcher; services are free to all enrolled students. Students may make an appointment to work on any writing-related project or assignment, attend subject tutoring in a variety of disciplines, or meet with an academic coach to hone fundamental academic skills like time management or overcoming procrastination. Students can make an appointment for any of these services by visiting

Academic Integrity

Tufts holds its students strictly accountable for adherence to academic integrity. The consequences for violations can be severe. It is critical that you understand the requirements of ethical behavior and academic work as described in Tufts’ Academic Integrity handbook. If you ever have a question about the expectations concerning a particular assignment or project in this course, be sure to ask me for clarification.

While I prefer an approach that minimizes the motivations for cheating over a punitive one, I will nonetheless be checking for plagiarism and other forms of cheating. The Faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are required to report suspected cases of academic integrity violations to the Dean of Student Affairs Office. If I suspect that you have cheated or plagiarized in this class, I must report the situation to the dean.

As part of this course, I may use TurnItIn to help determine the originality of your work. TurnItIn is an automated system which instructors can use to quickly and easily compare each student’s assignment with billions of websites, as well as an enormous database of student papers that grows with each submission. When papers are submitted to TurnItIn, the service will retain a copy of the submitted work in the TurnItIn database for the sole purpose of detecting plagiarism in future submitted works. Students retain copyright on their original course work.

For more information, see or review Tufts’ Academic Integrity policies.

As part of this course, I may use MOSS (Measure of Source Similarity) to help determine the originality of your source code. MOSS is an automated system which instructors can use to quickly and easily compare each student’s source code with each other, submissions from past semesters, and any other examples provided by the instructor/TA. It is designed to understand code structure, not just exact matches, so small changes to copied code will not defeat it. It also understands the difference between when original code is expected to have a similar structure and when similar code is likely copied (or otherwise derived from a common source), but any detections by MOSS will also be subjected to a human review in order to make sure there aren’t any “false positives”. Students retain copyright on their original course work.

Policy on Sharing

This course is designed for everyone to feel comfortable participating in discussion, asking questions, learning, and facilitating the learning of others.  In order for that atmosphere to be maintained, the recordings of our conversations will only be shared with the enrolled students in the class (not posted publicly) and it is prohibited for any of us who have access to the video to share it outside the course. 

Similarly, I have specifically designed the exams, assignments, homework, handouts, lectures, and other materials for the people who are enrolled in the course this term, and they may not be shared outside this course. It is against Tufts policy for anyone to share any content made available in this course including course reading materials, problems sets, videos, handouts, and exams, with anyone outside of the course without the express permission of the instructor. This especially includes any posting or sharing of videos or other recordings on publicly accessible websites or forums.  Any such sharing or posting could violate copyright law or law that protects the privacy of student educational records.

COVID-19 Policies

There are no specific policies regarding COVID-19 measures for this class. However, you are expected to follow all university policies. And if you feel sick (whether it’s COVID-19 or not), please stay home and recover. If you do have COVID-19 (or get a positive test), be sure to isolate in a manner and for a duration that follows university policies and your health provider’s guidance. Also follow any required steps (per university policy or your health provider) before returning to class after isolation.


These course policies are subject to change during the semester in response to changing conditions. Such changes are at the sole discretion of the course instructor. If any changes are made, the appropriate documents will be updated and the change will be announced to the entire class in a timely fashion.

This document has a version number at the beginning to help you tell when changes have been made. When there is a new version, the changes that were made will be listed in the following Change Log. (This may help, for example, so you don’t need to re-read the entire document just to find a small change.)

Change Log

v1.0: Initial version.

In Archive